For decades, visionary thinkers have been calling for universities to engage in transformative, strategic, and long-term change efforts [1, 2, 3] rather than passive or incremental responses to external pressures [4, 5]. Universities reproduce hierarchies & inequities . Only by actively increasing their capacities for change can universities break patterns of inequity and support students, faculty, and staff in achieving their full potential [7, 8].
Thus, our research focuses on examining and describing effective processes that lead to sustained change in academia . To date, our products include the DAT model theory of change, the DELTA Survey for collecting data on departmental culture, and case studies of our DATs and their impacts. You can learn more about these products via our publications. Current work includes investigating the long-term impacts of DATs and the development of a student version of the DELTA Survey. If you have questions about our past or ongoing work, please feel free to contact us.
History and Funding
To date, the DAT Project has received funding from the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
- Award from the AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative (2013-2016). In this pilot phase of the DAT model, we successfully launched six DATs in STEM departments at CU Boulder. We also developed the first iteration of our Core Principles and incorporated ideas from the change literature into the model.
- Departmental Action Teams: Sustaining Improvements in Undergraduate STEM Education Through Faculty Engagement (NSF award #1626565; 2016-2021). In this phase of the project, we significantly refined the DAT model. We implemented 7 new DATs at CU Boulder and 5 DATs at Colorado State University. We published a new iteration of our Core Principles and developed a Theory of Change that describes the logic underlying the DAT model. We also published the departmental DELTA Survey to capture evidence of department culture and change, and we created a set of Innovation Configuration Maps to assess how "DAT-like" a particular group is. We also published a book detailing the process of facilitating change teams in higher education.
- Understanding the Impacts of Departmental Action Teams on Sustainable Departmental Culture Change and on Undergraduate Student Experiences, Success, and Outcomes (NSF award #2021110; 2020-2022). Currently, we are examining the lasting impacts of DATs on students and other department members. As part of this work, we will develop a student version of our departmental DELTA Survey.